I haven’t written a blog post in about a year and a half. Truth be told, I haven’t written much of anything over the past year. So many things have happened since my last post.
First, trying to figure out what I wanted to write about became a daily struggle. Did I want to write romance, mystery, horror, suspense or women’s fiction? All of these genres interest me, but I just couldn’t settle on one. I had a lot of ideas for stories…too many ideas. I couldn’t stick with one long enough to actually reach the end of a story and as a result I became discouraged with writing altogether. I gave up. I believe I overwhelmed myself with focusing too much on publishing. Trying to figure out which idea would be the one. The magical one that would get me published.
At some point I decided to go back to school. My current job is a dead end and I need a more reliable source of income. I couldn’t seem to get my shit together with writing, so school seemed to be my only option. The plan was to continue writing while working full time and going to school in the evenings. That plan did not pan out, however. Within a month I was exhausted and felt brain dead. I decided writing would have to be put on hold until further notice.
I plugged along with work and school and made it through the first semester of the program I was enrolled in, but the overwhelming exhaustion never subsided. Turns out I was sick. Turns out it was cancer. Fucking cancer! I’m not even 50 years old. But I already knew what the diagnosis was going to be before the test results came back. My gut just told me something was wrong, and my gut was right.
A lot of shit goes on when you find out you have cancer. Your life flashes before your eyes. You think about all the stuff you’ve yet to accomplish, all the things you were too afraid to try, the things you figured you still had time to do. You find out who your true friends are, and some of them wind up showing their true colors and instead turn out to be assholes rather than friends.
I was fortunate. My cancer was caught early and I’m on the mend. This whole experience has made me think about my life and what I want to do with it. Being a novelist is something I’ve dreamed about since I was a teenager. Making a living as a novelist is no easy thing to accomplish, but it is something that I want to pursue. Since my illness, I had to quit school. I’ve amassed an enormous amount of medical bills, so I can no longer afford the monthly payments for school. I believe this is a blessing in disguise. What I was studying was not something I was really interested in, and I’m 90% certain I would have been unhappy in that job as well.
Being a fiction writer is what I want to do for a living, and writing is how I want to spend the bulk of what’s left of the rest of my life. My plan is to bring my focus back to writing, learning as much as I can about craft and becoming a better writer. I want to spend the next year finding my voice. I don’t want to get distracted about the publishing/business side of writing. I just want to write until I figure out what it is I want to say. Once I do that, everything else should fall into place.